Forests: Changes in the Land
Approximately 50% of a tree's weight is comprised of carbon that originated from atmospheric carbon dioxide. What happens to this carbon when trees are cut down to make way for agriculture, or are destroyed by natural phenomena such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and insect infestations? In this lab, you will explore answers to these important questions:
- How do changes in forests affect the carbon cycle and climate?
- How can preserving forests help to mitigate the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on climate change?
In Part B, you will use a case study of Northern Boreal Forests undergoing ecological changes to identify and analyze the causal relationships and feedbacks that emerge from these ecological changes.
After completing this investigation, you will be able to:
- Explain how wildfires, drought and deforestation can change a forest from being a carbon sink to a carbon source.
- Effectively use the Global Forest Cover tool to research changes in forest cover over time.
- Use systems thinking strategies to identify causal connections and feedbacks in a complex Boreal forest carbon cycle undergoing ecological change.
Keeping Track of What You LearnThroughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
- Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
- Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.